The 5.6L V8 is supremely smooth, and has a nice deep-sounding grunt that puts a smile on your face.
The 2018 Infiniti QX80 Limited is newly designed for this model year, giving it a much-needed facelift since it has remained relatively unchanged since 2013. Available in seven or eight-passenger versions, the QX80 is both very large, and very comfortable. Technology plays a role in keeping the QX80’s ride both smooth and predictable whether you’re commuting to work, or towing the boat to the cottage for the weekend. With a 5.6-liter power plant producing 400 horsepower and 413 pound feet of torque, there’s plenty of power to spare in this naturally aspirated and buttery smooth V8.
The QX80 is definitely large and in charge, making its presence known wherever you go. Seating position is high – very high – giving you a great field of view and perspective of the road ahead. The high seating position lets you look down at the hood, allowing you to get a really good feel of the vehicle’s size. Even if the towering height doesn’t give you that confidence inspiring feeling, the QX80 has some technology to help with that; park assist sonar sensors (front and back), frontal-view camera, backup collision intervention, AroundView monitor with object detection, tilting mirrors when put in reverse as well as a traditional rear-view camera.
Ride quality is very comfortable, soft, and compliant. Cabin noise is whisper quiet even at highway speeds, which is partially due to sound-deadening insulation, which has been added to the floors and dashboard. Load leveling rear suspension automatically maintains the suspension at mid-range of its travel height, which pays dividends when towing, or with excessive cargo weight, so the rear end is never squatting from added weight, thus greatly improving handling and ride comfort.
The QX80 has speed sensitive power steering, which aids in safety and ride quality by adding power at lower speeds, which requires less effort to manipulate the steering wheel, and decreases power steering assistance at highway speeds, making your corrections less amplified than traditional power steering systems. The overall ride is improved in part by the QX80’s hydraulic body motion control system which aids in keeping the vehicle level while cornering which reduces body roll and improves ride comfort as well as safety. The QX80 is still a 5,946-pound whale on wheels, so technology aside, the QX80 does about as well as it can given the cards it’s been dealt.
Towing is rated at 8,500 pounds, which is quite substantial in the full sized luxury market. The QX80 can tow quite well thanks to the fact that it’s a body-on-frame design opposed to unibody. This in conjunction with the load leveling rear suspension, seven-speed automatic transmission with a short first gear, 413 pound feet of torque, and TSC (trailer sway control) make for a more than capable SUV that can tow almost anything you can throw at it, and look good while doing it.
The QX80 has a combined fuel consumption rating of 15.1L/100KM. During our time spent in the QX80 we observed a combined fuel consumption rating of 12.9L/100KM, and this was only accomplished with fuel economy in mind. Premium fuel is recommended for maximum performance, and our test took place on 91-octane premium and was a good mix of both city and highway driving.
The 5.6L V8 is supremely smooth, and has a nice deep-sounding grunt that puts a smile on your face. It’s also capable of burning a hole in your wallet should you be a lead-footed driver. Acceleration was better than expected, thanks to the short first gear. The new cobra head Infiniti shift lever appeals to the eye and feels good. Fit and finish is fairly good, but that being said, there are many things in the QX80 that come directly out of Nissan products. Things like the infotainment unit, the key fob and the heated/ventilated seat control knobs are also directly taken out of Nissan vehicles.
For a luxury brand, Infiniti has accomplished a lot, but there remain certain downsides to the QX80. Our tester comes fully loaded with the only available option being the Technology Package. It still seems to be missing quite a few things that one would assume a luxury SUV priced at $88,000 should have. There is no heads-up display, a panoramic sunroof, active park assist, or power running boards.
One thing that really does impress technology-wise is the smart rear-view mirror. If you fill the back of the SUV to the roof with luggage along with your family, your rear view mirror is now essentially useless. With the flip of a switch, the rear view mirror turns into a screen that displays video of what’s behind you; using a camera that’s near the rear wiper. This allows the driver to have an unobstructed view behind the car. It’s a neat idea that may not get utilized often, but you’ll be glad it’s there when you need it.
The 2018 Infiniti QX80 Limited is unmistakably a luxury SUV that received many compliments, even from strangers, during our time with it. It does lack certain things that one would assume comes standard on a luxury vehicle at this price tag, but the QX80 does what it’s supposed to and does it well.